One of few native Australian lawn varieties, zoysia is a staple grass seed found in any good lawn seed supplier’s range. But is it the right choice for your backyard?
Like any plant, it might grow and thrive in some yards, creating the dream lawn, where in others it might struggle, creating more of a headache than it’s worth. So before you go sowing zoysia seeds into your patch, here’s its benefits and its drawbacks to help you decide whether it’s the right choice.
Zoysia is a warm season grass, and, being native to Northern Australia, thrives in tropical and subtropical climates. This can be a relief for residents of Queensland, the Northern Territory, and northern Western Australia who often find that most lawn varieties can’t tolerate their climates!
Not only does zoysia love the warmer climes of northern Australia, it’s often the better choice over some of its warm season counterparts. Couch and kikuyu grasses aren’t tolerant of shade, whereas zoysia doesn’t mind hiding from the sun at all. Shady patches in warm climates are ideal for zoysia.
Hardy and low maintenance, as long as you’ve got the right climate, zoysia will establish itself and then require very little effort from you. The soil you plant it in doesn’t need to be particularly fertile, and you won’t need to fertilise it more than twice a year.
This low maintenance quality extends to watering as well. Zoysia is beyond drought tolerant; it actually doesn’t really like to be watered! Unless your area is going through a particularly dry spell you shouldn’t need to water at all, whatever rain you get should be enough.
Zoysia grows as a thick, low mat. Not only does this mean that it effectively smothers out any weeds that might try to grow, it also doesn’t grow too tall which makes the need to mow infrequent. Low maintenance indeed! Zoysia is a slow growing grass. The advantage of this is that it won’t invade other areas of your garden before you can get on top of it.
Possibly the best quality of zoysia overall is that it is soft to the touch and lovely to look at. Any zoysia lawn will look impressive to visitors and neighbours whilst providing a comfortable play space for kids and pets.
Zoysia’s disadvantages mostly stem from its advantages. Trying to grow zoysia in an unsuitable climate can be as unsuccessful and frustrating as growing it in a suitable climate is rewarding.
Zoysia does not tolerate frost at all and can struggle in particularly cold spells. Trying to grow zoysia in temperate regions can bring out this flaw. Long, cold and rainy winters could be the end of your prized patch of lawn.
Whilst low maintenance once it’s established, it’s getting to that point that can be tricky with zoysia. The slow-growing nature is great for infrequent mowing and avoiding invasion into other areas, but it is also the root cause of most of zoysia’s drawbacks. Establishing zoysia takes a long time. If you’re looking to grow a lawn quickly, zoysia is not for you. You will need to stay off the patch for multiple weeks before your zoysia will be strong enough to handle any foot traffic.
Slow growing also means slow recovery. If your lawn does succumb to frost, pests, or bad weather, it’ll take a while for the grass to regenerate. Whilst it does handle the traffic of a regular backyard, it won’t handle heavy wear and tear. So if you’re looking to plant a football field or if you have dogs who like to dig, zoysia is not for you!
So, if you’re in a tropical or sub-tropical region of Australia where frosts, heavy rains, or long periods of cold aren’t a problem, zoysia could be the perfect lawn for you. Once it is established it is low maintenance, drought and pesticide resistant, and will keep your yard green and lush. As with any grass variety, zoysia has its drawbacks. Zoysia’s slow-growing nature means that it takes a long time to recover from any damage.
At the end of the day, if the climate is right for zoysia, it’ll be a dream. Just make sure that zoysia will do well in your backyard and you’ll have no troubles at all! Talk to the team at McKays to see if zoysia is the perfect seed for you.